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Leinster young guns blaze a trail in comfortable win over Bath

Ross Molony won man of the match on an impressive night for Leo Cullen’s young stars.

Leinster 25

Bath 11

Sean Farrell reports from the RDS

BY THE END Sean Cronin had scored a try, Sean O’Brien was shouting support from the back of a scrum and Jonathan Sexton had even run a few attacking plays. But this night was all about the starters, unheralded as they may be.

Garry Ringrose is tackled by Matt Banahan Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Any fears that these Laighin Cubs would be more like lambs to the slaughter in the face of such a battle-hardened Premiership outfit were quickly laid to rest. Prop Peter Dooley carried hard and direct, Ross Molony made the line-out treacherous for the visitors, Luke McGrath buzzed from ruck to ruck with energy and purpose while Garry Ringrose put in a hard shift in defence. But most impressive of all was the oldest of the six making their full European debut, James Tracy.

Isa Nacewa told us yesterday that the hooker’s mood and facial expressions had set the tone all week in training. Well, the 24-year-old replicated that  on the night too. From steady line-out throws to powerful carries and even a deft touch to release Isa Nacewa; everywhere Tracy went, Leinster caused damage.

Improbably, the makeshift home team took a 12 – 3 advantage into half-time with Mike Ford’s men leaking penalty after penalty – four of which were picked off by Madigan.

Even after Dominic Day returned from his 36th minute sin-bin, Bath failed to muster a response befitting a team with quarter-final aspirations. There were flashes of intent, sure, but errors and attitude brought them only a Leroy Houston try to celebrate on their trip to Dublin.

That score could have made the game a contest again as it reduced the deficit to seven points with 20 minutes left. But Leinster, now equipped with big guns to replace the young ones, hit back immediately thanks to holes punched by Dave Kearney, O’Brien and ultimately the full length of Cronin’s frame as he stretched for a try to give the 14.569 at the RDS a try to warm them up on the freshest of nights.

Scorers

Leinster

Tries: S Cronin

Conversions: I Madigan

Penalties: I Madigan 6/7

Bath

Tries: L Houston

Penalties: G Ford, R Priestland

Leinster: Zane Kirchner (Noel Reid ’67); Isa Nacewa (Jonathan Sexton ’76), Garry Ringrose, Ben Te’o, Dave Kearney; Ian Madigan, Luke McGrath (Eoin Reddan ’66);

Peter Dooley (Jack McGrath ’46), James Tracy (Sean Cronin ’46), Tadhg Furlong (Marty Moore ’46), Ross Molony, Mike McCarthy (Tom Denton ’46); Rhys Ruddock, Josh Van Der Flier, Jordi Murphy (Sean O’Brien ’59).

Bath: Anthony Watson (Tom Homer ’65); Semesa Rokoduguni,. Jonathan Joseph,. Kyle Eastmond, Matt Banahan; George Ford (Rhys Priestland ’67),  Chris Cook (Jonathan Evans ’67);

Max Lahiff (Nick Auterac ’48), Rob Webber (Ross Batty ’40),David Wilson (Henry Thomas ’40), Stuart Hooper, Dom Day (Charlie Ewels ’53), 6. Matt Garvey, Francois Louw (David Denton ’40), Leroy Houston.

As it happened: Leinster v Bath, Champions Cup

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